Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats


nv                PERSIAN LITERATURE               139
mysticism which is at once the highest expression and the
clearest limitation of the orthodox Mohamedan doctrine."
This eminent religious leader was born in A.H. 450 (1058)
and attracted the notice of the Nizam-ul-Mulk, who
appointed him a Professor in his Baghdad college, to
which I have already referred. After some years of
absence he returned to Nishapur, and finally to his home
at Tus, where he died at the age of fifty-one, venerated
by all and bearing the honourable title of Hujjat-nl-hlam,
or "The Proof of Islam." It is of special interest to
note that in 1912 the authorities of the British Museum
acquired what is believed to be a unique copy of his work
on the doctrines of the Ismailis and other esoteric and
unorthodox sects, which should prove to be of great value
to the student.
Muizzi.óWe have now come to the later Seljuk
period, which Browne terms "the period of Sanjar,"
whose writers, both in prose and in verse, are as brilliant
as those of the preceding period ; indeed, it is difficult to
decide which are the most worthy of mention. The poet-
laureate of Sanjar was Amir Muizzi, and I quote a few
lines from one of his odes, if only to show how early the
artificial poem superseded the easy and to me charming
simplicity of Rudagi.
Her face were a moon, if o'er the moon could a cloud of musk blow
free ;
And her stature a cypress, if cypresses bore flowers of anemone.
For if to the crown of the cypress-tree could anemone clusters cling,
Perchance it might be accounted right such musk o'er the moon to
fling.
For her rounded chin and her curved tress, alack 1 her lovers all
Lend bended backs for her polo-sticks and a heart for the polo ball 1
Yet if hearts should ache through the witchery of the Harut-spells of
her eye,
Her rubies twain are ever fain to offer the remedy.
To quote Browne : " Thus in the four couplets we
have the familiar comparison of a beautiful face to a moon,
of a mass of black and fragrant hair to musk, of a tall and
graceful figure to the cypress, of red cheeks to the anemone,
of the chin and heart respectively to a ball, of the back
of one bent down by age or sorrow to a polo-stick, of the